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The Tentacle


September 28, 2007

Thoreau & Winchester Hall

Norman M. Covert

One of the perquisites of being hors de combat for many months is preoccupation with what ails you. Henry David Thoreau would have penned his musings in solitude - not an option here. Somehow the recovery room's Zenith found the Frederick County Board of Commissioners on COMCAST.

Ooh, the excitement, but never the solemnity of governance!

What might the reclusive Mr. Thoreau have thought of this esteemed board of county mother and fathers had television crashed his cabin? Shudder the thought. Logic and reasoning seem to have no place in the deliberations and Walden Pond has dried up here. The FBI drained it looking for anthrax evidence.

My musings? Commissioners President Jan Gardner gives an interpretation of Nurse Kratchit, who is unable to keep order in the mental ward. Aren't we lucky, though, that David Gray wasn't seated as president? Mr. Gray seems to be absent more than in his seat beside Ms. Gardner.

Ms. Jan has been perhaps the least quoted board president in memory, except when she slipped away for tea and scones in Annapolis recently. She may have come into her own, though, with that doubletalk reported by "The Daily Blather" on why the board refused to apportion water for the proposed new - and much-needed - power generation plant.

It is more than apparent that we have the new power brokers in Urbana. Those folks apparently want a fully gated community and are achieving that goal. One glib proposal is to incorporate Urbana as an independent city, disconnect it from all utilities except Al Gore-approved Green ones, and have Allegheny Power and any new generation stations completely bypass Utopia. Urbana could then buy carbon offsets to power its commune.

It seems unlikely that Ms. Gardner is slipping through the collateral damage left by her political bedfellows John L. Thompson, Mr. Gray and Kai Hagan. Ms. Gardner's best gambit has been to keep a low profile as Mr. "T" feeds copy to the local revolving door crop of neophyte reporters.

It's a real poser how Little David was ever elected. He was wholly ineffective as a commissioner and board president in his previous life. His Republican affiliation may have fooled the electorate, but he has proved that anyone can be elected given the right political climate. He's a nice enough fellow, who keeps beating the odds despite his dazzling mediocrity.

His recent declamation that the county needs to force Fort Detrick to stop construction because of a supposedly inadequate Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) proves he is simply lazy - he had not read the detailed document. (For the record, Fort Detrick doesn't make biological weapons - it is forbidden by federal statute.)

Historically, Mr. Gray never met an opinion he didn't like. Thus his effort to do the bidding of local attorney Barry Kissin, who has proven for 30 years that his "facts" are more often than not pure distortion and complete invention.

Mr. Kissin's roots reach back to the street anarchy of the 1970's - he's a real "Old Hippie," and give him credentials in the Bohemian underground, not the real world.

Speaking of stumpers, early on in the pre-election process, Mr. Hagan was the choice of a Democratic Party caucus. The groundswell was obvious for a man who should have padded his curriculum vite just a little. His contribution to the board is to discuss nether world aspects of a problem, but is unable to convince even himself of any solutions. He's personable, but a definite follower. Naiveté is his strong suit.

Mr. Thompson is the real mover and shaker. He seeks to penalize everyone, especially his agrarian neighbors, with highly restrictive land-use rules, taxes, tolls, his views on ethical behavior and legislative fodder intended to confound the Frederick delegation to Annapolis.

Mr. "T" has convinced the lowing herd that: big business is bad for business; the county can survive without increasing the local technical and professional job market; we can have housing without new construction; and tax revenue can be realized from the unemployed.

Mr. "T" apparently has cows in his barn that provide profitable Grade A milk if you kiss their haunches. He's surely forgotten that his dad taught him he must grab the teat to get milk.

Thank goodness for modern medical care. My recovery has excised Channel 19, unless they start broadcasting in HDTV with surround sound. Mr. Thoreau might approve of that.



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